Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award Finalist
“Spectacular. . . . You should buy this book, you should read it, and you should admire it. . . . It is the herald of a phenomenal career.” —The New York Times Book Review
The introduction, discussion questions, suggested reading list, and author biography that follow are designed to enhance your group’s discussion of Adam Haslett’s remarkable debut collection of stories, You Are Not a Stranger Here.
The characters in this début collection, many of them gay, many of them depressed, are plagued by the sense that they once had the temerity "to spear mediocrity in the eye." Now, dismayed by the niceties of everyday life, they compulsively scrutinize the people around them, as if this could teach them how to live. These muted stories are driven by the moments of crystallization that result: a boy suddenly knows that his brother is going to die; a lonely teen-ager finds relief as the target of a classmate's violence; a self-absorbed, manic-depressive father discovers that he is unable to say goodbye to his son. All this can be a little gloomy, but Haslett is an eloquent, precise miniaturist, and his characters' struggles with their own assumptions collectively provide a fascinating snapshot of life during the era of Prozac, when new ways of thinking about emotion have forced us to adjust our notion of identity and even, perhaps, of grace.